2022 Encounters

UAV Encounter #14 - Sept 27, 2022
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Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

EncDate:27/09/22 

Enc#:14

ObservBegin:05:47 PM

ObservEnd:06:47 PM

Vessel:Orcinus

UAV ID:Columbia

Pilot:Michael Weiss

Operators:Mia Lybkær Kronborg Nielsen

Other Observers:Federica Spina, Samantha Mundorff

Pods:J Pod

LocationDescr:Haro Strait

Start Latitude:48 29.73

Start Longitude:123 08.31

End Latitude:48 29.37

End Longitude:123 07.18

 

EncSummary:

Mark told the San Juan Island team that J pod was on their way east (see Orca Survey Encounter 68) and would be in US waters around 17:00. The team left Snug Harbor at 16:20 and headed southwest, hoping to follow the whales in from Discovery Island. The water out by Discovery was quite rough as they headed west, so the team turned back and searched southern Haro Strait.

Over the radio, the team received a report of whales near False Bay. Heading that way, the team saw a large male foraging offshore, who turned out to be J27. The team started their encounter at 17:47, and soon had the drone in the air for their first flight.

Initially, the team only found single whales, clearly searching for food at depth and spending very little time at the surface. However, they soon found a small group of whales, consisting of the J41s and J40, travelling down island. This group soon split up, and the team followed J40 and J51 as they were joined by J44, swimming close to shore along kelp beds.

J51 and J40 joined up with J51's grandmother, J19, along with J35 and her calf J57. The team watched as J35 briefly handed off her calf to J40 to babysit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, J19 and J51 engaged in some affiliative social contact.

The team ended the encounter at 18:47 as the whales continue to slowly head down island.